More than anything, I wanted readers to see through the book that to be Christian isn't merely a commitment to attend church every week; Christianity is a lifestyle that is focused on the things of God. The contemporary stories in "Beginning with God" are designed to show kids that Christ should be the center of their lives.

When a crisis erupts in the Kenton family, the family turns to prayer and the Word of God for answers. The same is true for routine matters; the family's faith provides the framework for dealing with life. And I think it becomes clear to the reader that a Christ-focused existence is a very natural and positive thing. Though this fictional family struggles in the same ways as every other family, the Kentons' faith in God helps them cope with the ups and downs of life – every day.

Eva Marie:  How did you create the Kenton family members?

Steve:  I unashamedly patterned the Kenton-family characters after members of my own family. The Johnny character is based on my son, Wesley John. My oldest daughter, Elaina May, is represented as Elaina in the book. A younger daughter, Angela Joy, is the Joy character in the devotional. My wife, Jann, and I are the basis of the mother and father of the Kenton clan. (My wife and I had another daughter, Hannah, soon after my first devotional was published, and a new Hannah character became the focus of several units of the revised "Beginning with God," but that character is only a family friend. Unfortunately, there was no room for Hannah in the immediate Kenton family.)

While the book's characters are loosely based on my own family members – many of their quirks and personality traits mirror those present in the characters' real-life counterparts – the characters can to some extent be considered composites of other people I have known throughout my life. But my own family was a great starting place!

Eva Marie:  Okay, Steve.  Last question.  Will there be (or are there) other devo-type books featuring the Kenton family?

Steve:  I understand "Beginning with God" is selling well, and I wouldn't rule out a sequel devotional featuring the Kenton family. But none is in the works at present.

I am considering writing a devotional for children who are a bit older than those using "Beginning with God" – probably preteens. I will have a coauthor -- a scientist and published author who will provide a wealth of fascinating but little-known facts about God's amazing universe – and it should be a fun project! I hope to get the work underway soon.

Steve T. Barclift has worked in children’s publishing for more than a decade. He is a Gold Medallion-winning children’s book author, founding managing editor of Christian Parenting Today, and is currently the managing editor at Kregel Publications. He and his family live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Award-winning national speaker, Eva Marie Everson is a recent graduate of Andersonville Theological Seminary. Her work includes "Intimate Moments with God" and "Intimate Encounters with God" (Cook). She is the author of "Shadow of Dreams"," Summon the Shadows" and "Shadow of Light." (Barbour Fiction) She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at